>\n\nWorst to First: 24. Philadelphia Eagles \n\n\n\n

Worst to First: 24. Philadelphia Eagles

Written by Ben Morgan on 04/18/2010

As a youth movement sweeps through the city of Brotherly Love it's looking like a genuine rebuilding year for the Philadelphia Eagles. Somewhere I read the average age of their projected staters is 25. That's the same average age as Brigham Young Seniors! That's quite some statistic if it's true and doesn't bode well for a return to playoff action in 2010. With a few holes to fill and potentially a couple of rookie starters that average age is only likely to get younger as well. In an increasingly tough division that now boasts an opponent with a good Quarterback (courtesy of the McNabb trade) it could be a really long season for Eagles fans. I give it til week 3 before fans are booing Kevin Kolb! Maybe Week 4...

Let's take a look over the roster and see if we can find anyone out of diapers.

2010 Free Agent Losses 2010 Free Agent Additions
Jason Babin DE (Titans,UFA), Sean Jones FS (Buccaneers,UFA), Will Witherspoon MLB (Titans,UFA-cut), Donovan McNabb QB (Redskins,trade)

Hank Baskett WR (Colts,RFA), Mike Bell RB (Saints,RFA), Marlin Jackson CB (Colts,RFA)
2010 Unsigned Free Agents 2011 Potential Free Agents
 Shawn Andrews G (UFA-cut), Kevin Curtis WR (UFA-cut), Darren Howard DE (UFA-cut), Max Jean-Gilles G (RFA), Sav Rocca P (RFA), Alex Smith TE (RFA), Jeremiah Trotter MLB (UFA), Brian Westbrook RB (UFA-cut), Tracy White LB (UFA)

Victor Abiameri DE (RFA), David Akers K (UFA), Hank Baskett WR (UFA), Mike Bell RB (UFA), Stewart Bradley LB (RFA), Nick Cole C (UFA), Omar Gaither LB (UFA), Ellis Hobbs CB (UFA), Max Jean-Gilles OG (UFA), Akeem Jordan LB (RFA), Kevin Kolb QB (RFA), Quinten Mikell DB (UFA), Michael Vick QB (UFA)
Quarterbacks No Need
Having lost one former Probowl QB and still looking to trade another (Vick) that really just leaves Kevin Kolb definitely on board for 2010. Kolb was pretty accurate last year in spot duty but it's an awful big risk taken by the Eagles. They could use a veteran backup as well. Vick, even if he's not traded probably couldn't be counted on to run the full offense. With the way the Eagles appear to be going though (establishing some kind of Under 25s only team) they'll probably draft someone instead. They could do a lot worse than rehiring Jeff Garcia. If Vick goes expect a development type QB in the draft too. Right now they need a Vet and not a rookie. Until we know what happens with Vick I'd call it No Need.

Runningbacks Minor Need
And the youth movement continues at RB. Out goes Brian Westbrook and they turn the keys over to LeSean McCoy. As a rookie last year McCoy was pretty good but wore down badly at the end of the year. This in spite of only having to deal with 195 touches all year. Rookies typically wear down at the end of the year but McCoy wasn't overused so this must be slightly concerning for Andy Reid. Mike Bell figures to take some of the work on but his resume is decidedly up and down after a good start in Denver. Martell Mallett is intriguing. He's a CFL star and only 23 still. What he'll do when faced with NFL Linebackers is anyone's guess though. So it's probably not too surprising that the Eagles are covering their bases by bringing in a few second and third round RB types for visits. Jonathan Dwyer and Toby Gerhart in particular catch the eye. Couple of tough runners who I think would go really well in Philly. Deji Karim has been in too and he might be a good bet for a later round pick. Don't forget Mike Bell is only on a 1 year deal, Eldra Buckley and Martell are roster bubble players and with McCoy not looking like he can be counted on for much more than 15-20 carries... I'll call this Minor Need.

Wide Receivers Minimal Need
Between Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant, the Eagles are young and pretty handy at WR. Throw in recently returned Hank Baskett, who's familiar with the system and capable of returning 30-40 catches a year if he gets the snaps, then they're looking pretty useful as a group. Maclin should improve this year as he enters year 2. Jackson can still go places too. He made a splash as a rookie and upped it last year with a very impressive all round season that included 12 total TDs but he still has growing room too. Avant's been signed long term and is only 27 himself. It's a group with a lot of promise and pretty decent depth. There could be a later pick on another guy to bring to camp and compete with the bubble players they have. Maybe a taller wideout. Baskett has great size but the top 3 barely make it to 6'.

Tight Ends No Need
Brent Celek had a genuine breakout year and his catches and yards put him right up there near the elite TEs in the NFL. With Martin Rucker and athletic Cornelius Ingram also on the roster there's not much need here unless there's issues with Ingram's recovery from his second ACL surgery. Let's assume he can and call this No Need.
Offensive Line Major Need
Boy is this something of a mess. The Eagles line was supposed to be dominant last year with perrennial probowler Jason Peters, the Andrews boys and Mike McGlyn. Very few of them performed. Shawn Andrews is already gone and it's a miracle Stacy isn't. On the bright side Winston Justice replaced Shawn Andrews and performed very well. Much better than anyone expected. He's earned himself a nice extension and he's still young too. Peters is a quandry, I questioned his right to be in the Probowl in 2008 when I thought he was just average, in 2009 he was even worse and he still made the probowl. I'll never understand that! Peters needs to recapture that old form or he's going to get Kolb killed. If he can they may be able to cobble together a decent line but it looks like Jamaal Jackson won't be ready until midseason. Anything earlier would be a big bonus. Even so they could still use another Guard so Cole can play Center until Jackson returns. I wouldn't rule out a guy like Anthony Davis here. He could play Guard as a rookie and *maybe* give them a future Left Tackle option if Peters continues to mail it in. There'll be good Guard only prospects left in round 3 though.

Defensive Tackles Minor Need
You know the Eagles do a pretty good job along the Defensive line and Defensive Tackle is no different. But there's definitely a lack of big plays from this group. They're just, well, solid. They stuff the run pretty well, 100 yards a game isn't bad. They give up a couple too many TDs and a handful of big runs. You get the feeling a big difference maker in the middle could errr make a big difference I guess. Trevor Laws hasn't lived up to his draft slot yet and Mike Patterson would probably be best off as good depth in a rotation than a front line DT. Part of me wonders how much a guy like Brian Price could improve the pass defense, but part of me wonders just what a giant sized guy like Terrence Cody might do for the Eagles too. If one of those two is about at #37 it could even be a no brainer but I'm not sure they'd go for a DT in round 1... it's a tough call because the existing guys have done a more than decent job. Like a few other teams I've looked into though, I kind of feel like they're one special talent away from being a dominant force rather than just an above average unit.
Defensive Ends Minor Need
Trent Cole's like Rodney Dangerfield, he can't get no respect. And yet he's been one of the best DEs in the league the past few years now. He's good for double digit sacks and a lot of QB worrying most years so that's one position they don't have to be concerned with. But having let Jason Babin and Darren Howard go there's plenty to worry about on the other side. The Eagles traded for Darryl Tapp who I liked coming out of college but who hasn't really been awe inspiring so far and is coming off a poor year for him. Juqua Parker and Victor Abiamiri will compete for snaps with Tapp. If this draft had better options at 4-3 DE I'd be looking for the Eagles to use a first rounder on someone to make this an elite pass rush but I'm not really sure they're going to get good value in this draft. As this looks suspiciously like a rebuilding year for them maybe it's better to wait and see what they can get out of Tapp in 2010. It's still a need, but I think they can do better with their picks in this draft unless one of the top guys somehow drops to #24. It'd be tough to pass up Brandon Graham... but they probably won't have that choice.

Linebackers Major Need
The Eagles had a tough time at Linebacker in 2009. Mostly thanks to losing talismanic MLB Stewart Bradley before the season. With him back at 100% it should instantly upgrade the unit. Akeem Jordan should get the first run at the weak side spot and sophomore Moise Fokuo should build on a decent rookie season. None of this should really stop them from drafting Sean Weatherspoon if he's still available at #24. Looks currently like he might not fall that far though. So they're probably going to have to look more at the second round types like Daryl Washington and Navorro Bowman. I look on this as a Major Need. Fukuo and Jordan might develop into good players in time but that's a big risk to take when you have a good opportunity to fill the position with 2 second round picks.

Cornerbacks Major Need
Asante Samuel's got one slot all to himself but he loss of Sheldon Brown leaves Ellis Hobbs atop the depth chart. Hobbs is not a starter in my book. Good nickel corner, but not a starter. He may be able to hold the fort for a while til a rookie can come in but it's asking a lot. If they can find a genuine starter then they should have good depth with Joselio Hanson as a 4th CB. With that in mind they have to be looking at the likes of Kyle Wilson at 24. There's other options around then too. Patrick Robinson is high on a lot of team's boards and Devin McCourty seems to be climbing too. There should be options there and even into round 2 as well with Alabama's Kareem Jackson. They should be able to fill this position.
Safeties Major Need
Quintin Mikell does a good job at Strong Safety but the Eagles have never adequately replaced Brian Dawkins ability in the secondary and last year's pickup Macho Harris doesn't seem to be the answer. Neither was Sean Jones so he's headed off to pastures new already. They've replaced him with Marlin Jackson, who's missed most of the last 2 seasons with injuries so may never contribute for the Eagles. So you have to look at this as a need. Eric Berry or Earl Thomas won't slide to them but a trade up for Thomas could be on the cards if he slips into range. There's very little chance that the Eagles use all their current draft picks. They have holes on their squad but not *that* many. Guys like Morgan Burnett or Major Wright, Nate Allen could come into play in rounds 2 or 3. There really could do with adding a guy inside the first 3 rounds. Anything beyond that you get into marginal talents.

Specialists Minor Need
David Akers has had some down seasons in Philadelphia but last year he really clicked. Kicker's sorted. Punter not so much. Sav Rocca could be in line for replacement but they've already signed Durrant Brooks so I'm not sure if they'd look at drafting someone. They have shown some interest in Zoltan Mesko this offseason.

Return Game No Need
DeSean Jackson is an elite punt returner, between Demps and Ellis Hobbs they have enough to keep the kick return game going but I would have expected more of Jeremy Maclin last year. Ah well.

Dream Day One
 1.24 Kyle Wilson CB Boise State
2.37 Brian Price DT UCLA
2.55 Daryl Washington LB TCU
Player Visits
John Skelton QB Fordham
Jonathan Dwyer RB Georgia Tech
Toby Gerhart RB Stanford
Deji Karim RB Southern Illinois
Marcus Easley WR Connecticut
Steve Maneri TE Temple
Anthony Davis OT Rutgers
Eric Berry FS Tennessee
Jerry Hughes LB TCU
Jason Worilds DE/LB Virginia Tech
Brian Price DT UCLA
Earl Mitchell DT Arizona
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim DE Washington
Eric Moncur DE Miami (FL)
Dexter Davis DE Arizona State
Arthur Moats DE/LB James Madison


Last Edited: 04/14/2010

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